Google makes it free for sellers to list items in search results


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Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. 


James Martin/CNET

Google on Monday said it will be free for businesses to list products in the company’s search results, a change that escalates Google’s already fierce rivalry with Amazon.

Previously, Google showed shopping listings as a panel of sponsored links from advertisers bidding on specific search terms, like air fryers or home gyms. Now listings in that panel will be free, though the company will also show paid ads elsewhere on the page. 

The change comes after Google in April brought free retail listings to the search engine’s shopping tab. Monday’s update puts the listings directly in Google’s search results, some of the most prized real estate on the internet. The change is first coming to the US before expanding more broadly.

The new listing feature puts Google in more direct competition with Amazon. The two tech giants have already been warring on multiple fronts, including smart home technology. Google’s Home smart speaker and Assistant voice software have been sprinting to catch up to Amazon’s Echo and Alexa.

The announcement also marks a bigger push for Google into shopping. Last year, the company unveiled a revamped version of Google Shopping, the search giant’s retail hub. The updated offering lets people browse items and gives them options to buy things either from a retailer’s website, from a nearby physical store, or on Google’s site itself. 

Google has drawn blowback in the past for its shopping efforts. Two years ago, Google was hit with a $1.7 billion fine from the EU for what the commission called “abusive” ad practices, especially when it came to Google’s shopping product. 



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